Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rebels admit resistance role

Rebels admit resistance role

Calcutta, Nov. 16: Maoists today admitted “standing by” Nandigram villagers to resist attacks by “armed CPM” supporters.

In a statement issued today, the CPI (Maoist) Bengal secretary, Somen, said his guerrillas were “motivating people and building up a resistance”.

This is the first acknowledgement by the rebels of their involvement in the violence. Earlier, they only admitted supporting the movement against land acquisition.

“Our activists held a series of meetings with the villagers to gain their trust. We camped in Nandigram for several months and stood by the people,” Somen said.

The statement suggested that despite the CPM armed squad’s recapture of the area, the rebels were active. “We are still a force to reckon with and we shall rise like the glowing sun in the days to come,” said another spokesperson for the outfit.

The statement comes weeks after the intelligence branch warned the state home department about the Maoist threat in Nandigram, saying the rebels had built a strong base in villages like Garchakraberia, Sonachura, Adhikarypara, Ranichowk and Satengabari. The warning also spoke of villagers being trained in the use of firearms.

“They set up training centres in pockets where the Trinamul Congress-led Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee was active. Not only men, they were also giving training to women,” an intelligence branch official said.

“We have led a people’s war for an exploitation-free society. We make a clear difference between revolutionary and reactionary violence,” said the CPI (Maoist) spokesperson.

The state chief of the outfit announced that they were lining up “programmes to make people aware of the CPM’s attacks on them”.

The CPM has been insisting that the Maoists were backing the Trinamul Congress-led Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee but Mamata Banerjee has trashed the claim. Asked about the weapons and explosives found, she said: “They were all planted by the CPM, desperate to establish the presence of Maoists and to malign our party.”

Inspector-general (law and order) Raj Kanojia today said 650 bullets, eight firearms and Maoist training manuals, in Telugu and Bengali, have been found in Sonachura.